September 26, 2017 Last Updated 8:12 am

Graham-Cassidy appears doomed, though bill writers push on; Spanish authorities attempt to takedown Catalan website

Morning Brief: Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., publisher of more than 110 newspapers, websites and niche publications in 22 states, has merged with Raycom Media — both companies are headquartered in Alabama

This week’s Morning Briefs began Monday by stating that this week would be a decisive one for several contentious issues, including the fate of the ACA in the States, and Catalonian independence in Spain. At least one of these issues may have reached a conclusion, or at least close to one.

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing, the only one scheduled to discuss the Graham-Cassidy bill, or Trumpcare, which would effectively gut the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Senators sent a few hours discussing the bill which they knew would live or die based on the votes of a couple Republican senators. On Monday, those Senators made it clear the bill would not pass.

The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Juliet Eilperin and Kelsey Snell:

Senate GOP effort to unwind the ACA collapses Monday

The latest Republican effort to unwind the Affordable Care Act collapsed Monday as a third GOP senator announced her opposition and left the proposal short of the votes needed to pass.

While one top Republican senator held out the possibility that the Senate might still vote on the bill, others accepted the reality that the push had sputtered out after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined two of her colleagues in formal opposition.

“Everybody knows that’s going to fail,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who led a raucous, five-hour hearing on the bill Monday afternoon. “You don’t have one Democrat vote for it. So it’s going to fail.”

The New York Times, David Leonhardt:

Trumpcare Is Dead. Long Live the Trumpcare Opposition.

It’s over. And it’s not over.

The effort to take away health insurance from millions of people — known by the name it deserves, Trumpcare — seems to have failed again. The latest version, the Graham-Cassidy bill, looks doomed, with three Republican senators joining all 48 Democrats and independents in opposition. Three plus 48 equals 51, and 51 no votes equal defeat.

Thank goodness. More specifically, thank goodness for the citizens who have rallied against the bill — the disabled activists who protested on Capitol Hill yet again on Monday, the callers who flooded the Senate switchboard, the experts who dispassionately explained the bill’s brutal effects, and many others.

The Washington Post: Bill Cassidy: The public face of a doomed health-care bill
Fox News: Republicans wonder aloud if a health care vote is worth the pain
The Week: At town hall, Lindsey Graham says he’ll ‘press on’ with his ‘damn good’ health-care proposal
Death and Taxes: Kimmel on GOP healthcare bill: ‘They don’t actually care what you think’



The situation in Catalunya continues to be tense, as Spanish media applaud each repressive measure taken by the central government to prevent the October 1 (Sunday) independence referendum, while the Catalan regional government continues to pledge that the vote will go on.

A two prong strategy appears to be underway by opponents of Catalan independence.

The central government is sending police into the region. What their plan is to prevent the vote is unknown, and while video of cheering Spanish crowds are being promoted by some media websites, there is little evidence that these police have made their presence known on the streets of Barcelona. But it can be assumed that the plan is to have the police disrupt any attempt at voting on Sunday, or possibly to confiscate ballots prior to the vote.

In Catalunya itself, opposition parties have said they will not participate in the vote, lowering the turnout rate, and possibly delegitimatizing the voting results. This tactic was used during the last referendum, which was non-binding. It led to results that could support both sides, with 80 percent of those voting saying Yes to independence for the region, but with such a low overall turnout that opponents could claim the vote did not represent the wishes of the majority of Catalans.

While many observers see the situation in Catalunya as a reflection of independence movements in several countries, I believe a better comparison would be the Prague spring of 1968, as we see a movement beginning to set up a new government, but hovering over it is the specter of another government determined to prevent it, and willing to bring in police or the army to prevent it

Catalan News, ACA:

Spanish police block website of pro-independence civil society organization

Spanish police blocked the website of the pro-independence civil society organization Assemblea Nacional Catalana, (Catalan National Assembly, ANC), said the group on Monday night. Shortly after the original website was shut down, ANC launched it again on a different domain (assemblea.eu).

The ANC is one of the organizations behind the massive rallies in favor of independence that have taken place in Catalonia in the last six years, and is privately funded.

Note from TNM: The English language version of the new website does not appear to be live, or maybe it is being blocked.

La Vanguardia, Leonor Mayor Ortega:

The PP justifies the sending police due to “the violence in the streets of Barcelona”

The Government has sent police reinforcements from the Civil Guard and the National Police to Catalunya for the day of 1-O. Artur Mas has denounced this morning that the Executive of Mariano Rajoy wants to turn Catalunya into a “police state”. But the PP justifies this deployment by “the violence that is lived in the streets of Barcelona.”

…Hernando has stated that this violence is being exercised “against civil guards, parliamentarians or mayors who disagree” of the positions of independence and has insisted that the mission of the police deployed in Catalonia is to “ensure security and respect and compliance with laws”.



In media M&A news, we are still waiting on word from Rodale as to whether they have been able to successfully been able to find a buyer for their magazine portfolio. There have been few leaks regarding the sale, a sign that those managing it are pretty competent (though I guess we will see soon if they are competent enough to complete a deal).

Wenner Media is selling Rolling Stone, of course, but we are likely too early on to hear much about that, though one suspects someone will come forward before the end of the year to buy Jann Wenner’s majority stake in the music title.

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., the owner of small newspaper titles, has been merged into broadcaster Raycom Media. Both companies are based in Alabama, though CNHI’s properties are spread out in many states including Massachusetts, but none in Alabama.

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